Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 9/6/12

The knuckler wasn't on, so R.A. Dickey adjusted and went to the sinker.

It was still enough for Dickey in a season that has been everything the last 15 were not. He became the first pitcher to win 18 games in the majors this season after the New York Mets' 6-2 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday afternoon. (Washington's Gio Gonzalez won his 18th later in the day.)

Dickey fought through 6 2/3 innings, giving up just two runs despite not feeling great about his one go-to pitch. He allowed eight hits and walked one while striking out five.

The 18 wins are the most by a Mets pitcher since Frank Viola won 20 and Dwight Gooden won 19 in 1990.

"I can say today was definitely not his best knuckleball by any means," catcher Josh Thole said. "He put his ego away and said, 'You know what? I'm going to have to use my sinker now.' "

Dickey has put his ego away for most of the season and again indicated Wednesday that while he'd like to win 20 games, he doesn't want to focus on individual honors.

He said he was instead focused on having "some work to do" before he faces the Nationals in his next start.

But for those around him, especially Mets manager Terry Collins, who saw Dickey accept an assignment to the minors two years ago, Dickey's breakout year continues to amaze and inspire.

A pitcher who had never won more than 11 games in a season and bounced around the minors and majors for much of his 16-year career is now a Cy Young award candidate. The success has come in a season that followed the release of Dickey's autobiography, which includes a segment on him discussing sexual abuse he says he endured as a child.

"He had to do some things and he did it without saying a word," Collins said. "The whole story of what he has had to get through to where he is today is truly one of the great stories in sports.

"It's a great story for all of us to tell our grandkids and our kids about perseverance. Guys who have it inside, and are willing to persevere and pay the price and deal with adversity and not let it get them down, there's always something there at the end."

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